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The standards we set are the standards we get

In the English summer of 1986, Ian Terence Botham admitted through his newspaper column that he had smoked marijuana (grass or pot, as you like it!)

Santhosh S
In the English summer of 1986, Ian Terence Botham admitted through his newspaper column that he had smoked marijuana (grass or pot, as you like it!). The TCCB did not hesitate too long and slapped `Beefy' with a three month suspension. Reasons given were, "Botham set a wrong example for the young cricket fans". Botham missed out playing three Tests against India at home. England badly missed Botham, who had always been India's nemesis, and lost the series to India 0-2. Botham was larger than life (as always) to English cricket and found himself punished for indiscipline (and those were the days when there was no official code of conduct). Dilip Vengsarkar was given a six month suspension for writing in a newspaper. Recently, Shane Warne lost the Australian vice captain's job for his misdeed away from cricket. Probably Warne will never get his job back. I heard Ravi Shastri and Ian Chappell lament on TV that Warne lost his job from something that has got nothing to do with cricket.
Sledging in cricket is something that the Aussies popularised. Getting under the skin of the opponent, working on his psyche to get him out. That is not fair play and definitely not cricket. But then these are highly competitive days and there are no angels in the game. Gone are those days when batsmen used to 'walk.' These days they wait for the umpire's decision and even then are loath to leave. To make things worse (or for the better), we have TV replays and a third umpire. In a country like India, idol worship is something synonymous with young and the old. Kids go by what their cricketing heroes say or do and so it really matters what kind of role models these heroes set. After all, cricket or cricketers are never bigger than this human community. I, for one, wouldn't want my kids to grow up swearing expletives at each other, let alone elderly people. There is something called 'honour' in which we all will agree upon. As the bard says, "Honour hath no skill in surgery, then? no. What is honour? a word. What is in that word honour; what is that honour? air. A trim reckoning! Who hath it?..."
India's captain insults an umpire and walks away with the Man of the Match award. What is the criteria for the best player here? One who makes runs and picks up few wickets... isn't there much more to cricket than that? We all know the answer for sure. Some may say that it was the new found aggression or a new passion for the country (instilled by the foreign coach) that made Ganguly get carried away. There is a subtle difference between the aggression in what other people indulge in and what Ganguly did. Aggressive players usually take it lightly on the opponents and not on the officials. Had it been a football match as all the sports loving Calcutta would know, it would have been a definite RED CARD! What would have happened if Ganguly had misbehaved and uttered all those foul words to Mr Venkatraghavan or Mr Bucknor? I wonder. Here is the captain disgracing himself, his team and the nation (shortly after former captains are suspended for selling themselves for a few dimes in a match fixing spree). Either this has to be cricket or WWF (where you are allowed to abuse 'em all including the spectators and fans!). Mr Jarman did suspend Ganguly for a match, making it look like justice has been served. What has Ganguly done since to repair the damage done to the young minds who follow cricket in this country? I do not wish to listen to my son screaming the four letter word at me when I deny him the pleasure of an ice cream, just 'cause his idol did so to an umpire. This was not sledging, this was pure arrogance of a pseudo prince. This was not an exhibition of any kind of passion for the game as Mr Wright would have us believe. Spare a thought for the umpire Mr CK Sathe.
What is most disturbing is the fact that the very people who have been entrusted to adjudicate the 'man of the match and series' find it fit to award Ganguly the accolades. Makers of heroes, but what kind of heroes do we make here? And what are the standards we set?